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dwightyoakamacoustic (Acoustic Version)

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Album Review

At first glance, might look like a simple re-recorded greatest-hits album that's pleasant but unnecessary. However, the spontaneity and depth of these performances should give any Yoakam fan pause before dismissing it out of hand. Other than the fact that it has no discernible connection to the Internet, the album is exactly what the title promises: aside from one electric-guitar overdub, it's nothing but Yoakam and an acoustic guitar the whole way through. This ultra-stripped-down setting gives Yoakam a chance to establish an intimacy of performance that relies simply on the expressiveness of his voice and his ability to fill up space with compelling guitar work. To a certain extent, Yoakam could be handicapped by the familiarity of most of these songs, but revisiting one's back catalog is certainly not without precedent; outlaw country's biggest stars frequently re-recorded old favorites to reflect their changing sounds. Besides, he's generally successful at reinventing this selection of hits and top-notch album tracks for the album's solo format. Without much to concentrate on other than emotive power in Yoakam's voice, the heartbreaking ballads are that much more affecting, culminating in the a cappella, album-closing rendition of the once uptempo "Guitars, Cadillacs." The approach also helps evoke the wide-open spaces of songs like "Bury Me" and "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere." Not everything here is revelatory — in the end, some songs are merely pleasant — but overall, is a left-field success, a testament to the richness of Yoakam's back catalog and his skill as an interpreter.

Customer Reviews

A Must-Have

Even if you're not a Dwight Yoakam fan, this album will stun you. With no slick studio sidemen to cover his tracks (pardon the pun), Yoakam lays down a startlingly intimate and musically thrilling recording. It's as if he's over at your house for dinner and while you're in the kitchen chopping vegetables he wanders into your living room, picks up the guitar by the couch and sits down to run through some old favorites. This is a great record. I've found this recording to be an essential friend on road trips, especially in those early evening hours when the dusk-covered highway starts to feel lonesome. If you're not a country fan, this album may provide a great point-of-entry to hear the brilliant artistry that Yoakam possesses. If you are a country fan, an acoustic music fan, maybe an old-timey fan, or just a music lover, I assure you that you'll be glad you picked this one up.


incredible- Gets better with every listen

A Must Have Album

My answer to the age-old question, "If you were stuck forever on a desert island, with electricity, what album could you not live without?" is undoubtedly this one. The acoustic guitar work compliments Dwight's smooth baritone. For an amatuer guitarist, there is no better teacher. The bass riffs on "Fast as You" bring a fresh compelling rythym to the familiar version; "Buenos Noches from a Lonely Room" evokes sadness and loss. Every song feels as if he were sitting in your kitchen and you can strum along. His plaintive wail echos with heartache throughout. A must have album!


Born: October 23, 1956 in Pikeville, KY

Genre: Country

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With his stripped-down approach to traditional honky tonk and Bakersfield country, Dwight Yoakam helped return country music to its roots in the late '80s. Like his idols Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Hank Williams, Yoakam never played by Nashville's rules; consequently, he never dominated the charts like his contemporary Randy Travis. Then again, Travis never played around with the sound and style of country music like Yoakam. On each of his records, he twists around the form enough to make it...
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